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The undeserved car

By Rev Philip Sudell | 16 November 2015 | Comments (2)

The undeserved car - a blog by Stewardship


Rather than making the expected comment about the talk, the service, or something similar, the couple greeted me with these words, “it may not be quite what you were hoping for, but we do have a car that we have been wondering what to do with and we’d like to give it to you, Philip”.

I’ve had all manner of unusual post-service encounters and questions before, but this was certainly a first. I didn’t quite know what to say. Here was I, having talked about God’s grace and encouraging people to accept it, finding myself very much the undeserved recipient of somebody else’s grace, and struggling.

Our car ‘issues’ had been challenging us for some months. Our impractical and temperamental car—for reasons best known to itself—would choose not to start if the weather was even a little damp, let alone wet. It was not an ideal situation for a large family, nor did it appear to be a long-term solution for us.

So when we went off to another church where I was to speak at an outreach weekend, we decided to let the train take the strain rather than worry about whether the car would let us down or not.

During the introduction to one of the talks, the subject of our temperamental car happened to come up, but I gave it no more thought.

After the final service at the end of the weekend, I was standing chatting with people at the door when a couple came up to me. They appeared to be slightly apprehensive but then offered us a car.

Perhaps they sensed my hesitancy. The couple assured me that they didn’t mind if it didn’t work out—if we chose to sell it after a short period of time and put the money towards a different car of our choice, or whatever. It was simply a gift, with which we could do whatever we chose.

At that point they saw far more clearly than I how difficult it can be to accept undeserved grace, or in this case, an undeserved car.

Wonderfully, the couple quietly persisted with their offer and a little later in the day my wife and I not only had a chance to take a test drive but also fixed a time that I might come back and collect it. As we talked further it transpired that the couple had been praying about what to do with the car for some time and so God had been laying the groundwork, as he always does, long before any of us realised.

I continue to be struck by how my instinctive reaction was not only to feel undeserving of the gift—which of course we were—but also how difficult it was to actually accept it.

In God’s gracious provision, something that we would have never imagined for ourselves has proved to be just the ideal car for us at this time. And beyond the provision of the car, God has also taught us a lesson about what it means to receive his undeserved grace.

Read more like this:

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What to do when Christmas loses its sense of Wonder

2 new resources to help you grow a generous church




Mike Clarkson

November 23, 2015 5:50 PM
What a wonderful testimony of God's provision and how He teaches us to accept His undeserved grace.

Dan Pattimore

December 29, 2015 9:44 AM
An interesting and Important blog. It is a strange thing that those who are generous by default find it difficult to receive as well. We have recently taken a step from stipendiary to self-supporting ministry and, even with drastically reduced income, still find it hard to receive grace.

Not sure if it's a pride thing or a product of being seen for many years as a 'provider', which has hardened our hearts towards the generosity of others.

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